Navy Corpsman Angelo Anderson was originally planning on getting his mother, Angela, a card for Mother's Day.
Instead, he gave her something even better — he advanced to the finals in the 400 meter prelims at the Invictus Games in Orlando, Florida.
"She hadn't seen me compete, but once since my injury. So, I told her early, I was going to get you a card but I figured making finals would be the equivalent ... and she was like, couldn't ask for anything better," Anderson said.
Despite a titanium rod in his right leg and a plate in his right arm due to gunshot wounds suffered in 2010 while serving in Afghanistan, his success Sunday morning solidifies his place in the track and field finals scheduled for Tuesday morning.
More than 500 other veterans are competing at the second Invictus Games, representing 14 countries that are participating in the event. Sunday evening's opening ceremony marks the official start to the games, which will continue until Thursday, May 12.
Angela Anderson said she didn't know if she was going to make it on time to see her son run, but when she arrived, he was just winning his race.
"I am so surprised. It’s just so great to see him back a full person and competing, it’s just wonderful," she told ABC News' Bob Woodruff today at the Invictus Games. "The most perfect gift a mother could ever receive."
In 2007, Angelo joined the Navy to be a field medical Corpsman, serving with the U.S. Marines. In 2010, he was shot several times in a firefight in Afghanistan.
"Gunshot wound to the upper arm and gunshot wound to the right leg. Broke my femur, broke my humerus," he told ABC News.
He's since undergone 16 surgeries.
"Now I have a titanium nail up through my femur into my hip. And I have a metal plate over my humerus," he said.
Besides track and field, 26-year-old Angelo also will be competing in cycling and wheelchair rugby at this week's Invictus Games -- a competition for wounded servicemen and women created by Prince Harry. Angelo also competed at the inaugural Invictus Games in London in 2014.
"Our coach always tells us, know the difference between pain and discomfort," Angelo said. "So, with that, he's saying welcome pain, you know. And just make sure that you know your limit in the midst of that."
Angelo said of making the 400 meters finals on Mother's Day, "this is probably one of the best Mother’s Day gifts" he could give his mother.
Angela, meanwhile, reflected on her son's injury, telling ABC News the healing process took patience, endurance and love.
"We always see things as parents that, we see boo boos that we can fix, such as 'Oh, mommy, this hurts, or that hurts.' But when something like that happens it really tests your faith, to see if your spirit can actually endure," she said. "It takes patience, endurance and most of all the love. That’s most important, that’s what heals our nation and heal our heroes."
"There is no connection that you can explain for family. Family provides that connection that keeps the heart beating," she added. "I’m so thankful to just be his mom. Out of all the things you can make choices, I’m glad he didn’t have a choice to choose anyone else but me."
ABC News' Mary Kathryn Burke contributed to this report.